A cable television company is investigating just how children in some New Jersey homes ended up watching hardcore pornography when they tuned into a popular cartoon program on the Disney Channel.
Paul Dunleavy, a Middletown, New Jersey, subscriber to cable giant Comcast, was stunned Tuesday morning to find his 5-year-old son watching something other than "Handy Manny," a cartoon show about a bilingual Latino handyman, Manny Garcia, and his talking tools.
"It was two people doing their thing, it was full-on and it was disgusting," the Middletown father of three told The New York Daily News newspaper for its Wednesday editions.
"I couldn't believe it," he said. "We try to do the right thing to protect our kids from this stuff, and then they broadcast it on children's TV."
Dunleavy's phone number was unlisted when The Associated Press tried to contact him Wednesday.
Comcast issues apology
Comcast spokesman Fred DeAndrea confirmed the programming error occurred around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. He described it as an "isolated issue in a local New Jersey facility."
"We automatically detected the issue and it was corrected promptly. We apologize to any customer who experienced an issue yesterday morning," said DeAndrea, who said the mistake was made by his company, not Disney.
DeAndrea declined to provide the duration of the pornography broadcast, how many homes it reached, how the mistake happened and whether anyone will be disciplined for the X-rated error.
A Disney Channel spokeswoman said the company has asked Comcast for assurances that appropriate measures are taken to prevent such offensive incidents from happening again. The state Board of Public Utilities, which regulates the cable industry in New Jersey, has made a similar request and asked to meet with Comcast officials to discuss the matter.
"We value the trust that parents have in our programming and certainly take yesterday's regrettable program disruption extremely seriously," said Disney Channel spokeswoman Karen Hobson. "Comcast has taken full responsibility for this situation, and we understand that they are currently working to determine the root cause of the incident."
Dunleavy told The Daily News that he received an apology directly from Comcast. But he was still disturbed by the incident. "My son was extremely upset because he thought he'd done something wrong, and we're hoping what he saw doesn't become an issue for him."